33 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliantly captures the state of being 10-years-old
I had only read one Roddy Doyle short story before picking up 'Paddy Clarke...', and now I'm addicted. Doyle manages to write so convincingly from the perspective of a ten-year-old that it's impossible to put this book down. It isn't just the language (and the use of native terms is only a small stumbling block), but he also captures the mannerisms and thoughts so...
Published on 10 Aug. 2001
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not his best work
I found this book rather hard going to read as it seems to me very disjointed and doesn't flow well. The insights into childhood are great and the dialogue is cracking on the whole but somehow the lack of plot means that the book just doesn't get going. My least favourite of the Barrytown triolgy.
Published on 28 Sept. 2007 by G. Bilson
Most Helpful First | Newest First
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Poignant as my era so close to my heart,
Brilliantly written through the mind of a ten-year-old boy who is discovering the world with great appetite. This novel catches the mood of a time and, for some of us who are old enough, will bring back fond memories. The following passage can be looked on as a test of 'Were you there?.'
"We had to eat the sandwiches; there was no place to hide them. They were nice; egg. They'd gone real flat; there were no holes left in the bread. We had a can of Fanta between us, me and Sinbad. Ma wouldn't let us open it. She had the opener. She hooked it under the rim of the can and pressed once for the triangular hole for drinking out of and again, for the hole on the other side for the air to go into. After a few slugs each I could feel little bits of food in the Fanta; I could feel them when I was swallowing. The Fanta was warm."
In the novel, the above happens in Ireland but how many others from around the world would recognise it and other anecdotes. On reading "and again on the other side for the air to go in'" I can imagine myself, as well as Paddy Clark shouting 'Ma. Ma, why two holes Ma?'
A great easy read and one of the few books that I have ever read twice.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling and intuitive account of childhood. Brilliant.,
By A Customer
Having never read any of Doyle's novels prior to 'Paddy Clarke', I appoached this book with a certain naivety. I recall beginning this book on a crowded tube train and realising, almost immediately, that it was to be a novel of much depth and would require considerable concentration.
The tale is told by a ten-year-old boy called Patrick Clarke and is set, as you would expect, in Dublin. It soon becomes apparent that to successfully navigate this book you must first learn to appreciate some genuine Gaelic lingo. This doesn't present too much of a problem as the learning process only adds to the enjoyment of the book.
The account of Paddy's outlook on life conveys us back in time to an age when the world's greatest woes were classroom quarrels and would you make the under 11's football team this year. It's a truely nostalgic distraction from the troubles of adult life; it's the childhood we try to convince ourselves that we've left behind, but never leaves us fully.
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha is both hilarious and painfully tragic. It's an artful mix of warm-hearted humour and the trials of family life. Brilliantly written, Doyle portrays Paddy's endeavours in an enchanting, captivating and, sometimes, blatantly painful manner. This makes a recipe for a novel you just can't put down and puts in perspective the things we truely need to cherish.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Poignant...yet humorous, Ireland...yet anywhere, nineteen sixties...yet anytime,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha (Paperback)
Written from the perspective of a 10 year old boy, Doyle's writing throughout the book is in short bursts, talking about one thing then off on another. This very much emulates the way children's thought patterns jump from one thing to another.
I had to smile in some parts at the childish understanding of events and the way it evoked memories of my own play at a similar age.
Paddy's awareness of his parents quarrels and his struggling to stay awake to prevent them arguing was sad, as was his understanding of how events would pan out. His own long standing friendships seemed to come to an end at the same time as his parents, but his instinct to survive and the way his relationship with his younger brother Francis (Sinbad) developed seemed very true to life. One to read!!
5.0 out of 5 stars You'll Be Laughing,
I'm kind of a reverse literary snob, in that I tend to avoid books that win awards. I've found that such books are often very well written, but they're not always good reading. As shameful as it is to admit, I would much rather read for story as for fancy words. Clearly I'm not alone, as in 1993, the year Roddy Doyle's ''Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha'' won the Booker Prize, the bestseller lists contained John Grisham, Sue Townsend and Jeffrey Archer.
Paddy Clarke is a normal ten-year-old boy. He hates school, loves playing where he shouldn't and torments his younger brother whenever he can. He gets into all sorts of mischief and occasionally into trouble, leading to beatings from his father and teacher. However, disturbing Paddy's carefree youth is the feeling that all isn't quite right at home, with increasing arguments between his parents disturbing his peace of mind.
I love the way ''Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha'' is written. Roddy Doyle somehow sees clearly through the eyes of a ten-year-old boy. The relatively short attention span of someone that age lets the narrative skip around wonderfully, like a bee collecting nectar. Sometimes it alights on a subject for a while, but it's equally likely to pause only briefly before moving on. Rather than being a stream of consciousness, it's more like a babbling brook, its course frequently diverted by anything in its way.
The language used is so perfectly that of a ten year old that it's captivating. Paddy Clarke's mind is full of the joys of discovery that many of us lose as adults. His sheer joy at finding a word he knows he shouldn't use and then using it anyway is a lot of fun. It does mean there's a little more swearing in the book than some mat like, but to me it added to the reality of the perspective. But it's Paddy's outlook on simple things that offers the sweetest moments, such as playing cowboys, where they ''parked our bikes on verges so they could graze.'' There's a kind of forgotten innocence and imagination in a phrase like that, which captured me all the way through the story.
The simplicity of the story helps it along. Rarely does this feel like a novel, more the wanderings of a young mind. Nothing that Paddy does or experiences is different to that your average ten year old would. Admittedly, not all children experience parental strife and smacking and corporal punishment aren't allowed or encouraged any more, but playground fights, games of football and thoughtless cruelty to siblings are often part of life at that age. This is one of those rare books that feels so real I couldn't help but wonder if it's truly fiction of it there is a large amount of autobiography contained within.
The emotional content made me wonder the same thing. As with people and places, the feelings are quite simply described, but Paddy Clarke feels everything as much as sees it and this comes across wonderfully. He may not always know the name for what he's feeling exactly, but it's detailed enough that the reader usually will. There's often a change of tone to match his emotional state that helps portray his emotions more effectively.
Two other things make ''Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha'' incredibly readable. The simplicity of the story and the ten-year-old's language makes it a very easy read and the content makes you want to keep reading. In addition, Doyle writes without chapters, so there's no easy way to find a place to stop reading, nor any encouragement to stop. This is the kind of book you could easily find yourself reading in a single session.
Somehow, I doubt the enjoyment I had from this would be replicated were I to read other prize winning novels, even other Booker Prize winners. But Roddy Doyle has proved to this doubter that a prize-winning book can contain great reading as well as great writing. This is real life in a compelling little chunk and I can see exactly why the 1993 Booker Prize judges rated it so highly and I'm sure you would also rate it very highly once you'd had the chance.
This review may also appear, in whole or in part, under my name at any or all of www.ciao.co.uk, www.thebookbag.co.uk, www.goodreads.com, www.amazon.co.uk and www.dooyoo.co.uk
5.0 out of 5 stars Infectious, Nostalgic, Authentic,
Roddy Doyle's Booker Prize-winning 1993 novel is a quite remarkable piece of fiction. Strangely enough 'fiction' could almost be regarded as something of a misnomer to describe what is (or at least appears to be) something close to autobiographical writing, filled with a vivid and intoxicating 'child vernacular', as Doyle's 10-year old Barrytown hero relates his tale of schooldays filled with pranks (thieving, smoking, etc) and officious teachers, together with an increasingly troubled home-life. Although I have read many infectious and evocative tales of childhood before, I don't believe any quite capture Doyle's uncanny depiction of how a child's mind works, flitting (mid-sentence) from one subject to another and conjuring up an imagination true to that most inventive (and uncertain) period of our lives.
Of course, given this milieu and Doyle's short, sharp writing style and focus on a series of vignettes, rather than a strong, single narrative, Paddy Clarke takes a bit of getting into, but for anyone interested in 'turning the clock back' and re-living their childhood, this is truly authentic and compelling stuff. Memorable characters include Henno (Mr Hennessy), Paddy's 'teacher oppo', who, although officious does not come across as unduly cruel, 'Corporation-house' i.e. council-house tough kid, Charles Leavy (whose toughness Paddy tries to emulate), younger brother Francis ('Sinbad'), who Paddy feels duty-bound - as younger brother - to victimise, and parents 'ma' and 'da', whose increasingly troubled relationship begins to be a source of worry for Paddy. The novel's autobiographical nature is reinforced by its (initial) time setting, 1968 (when Doyle would also have been 10-years old) - which also serves as the backdrop for some of the most memorable passages as Paddy and pals indulge in adopting the personas of the football stars of the era, Bobby Charlton, Denis Law, Johnny Giles, Eddie Gray and (the player everyone wanted to be) Georgie (or, as Paddy prefers, George) Best.
A nostalgia trip par excellence and one that comes highly recommended.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Touching from start to finish,
I suppose you need to have lived this life, at least in part, to truly recognise this book for all it's worth.
Silver spoons, lavish christmas mornings, a never-ending supply of pocket money, parents who couldn't say "NO!". Hmm... perhaps those amongst you currently nodding internally should steer clear if 'seeing how the other half live' isn't your idea of a gripping read. Then again, it could be an education if you've no idea how the poor manage from day to day.
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha is a memorable insight to the trauma, tragedy, love and laughter of 'blue collar' family life. The fact that the main protagonist is a mere 10 years old only helps strengthen the narrative structure. Each turn of events throughout the book is laced with the innocence and confusion surely all of us have experienced at one time or another during childhood.
The book is more profound if you allow yourself to search through your own memories and connect to those of Paddy. It's not hard to do so if the home surroundings within the story and the events therein are familiar to you.
Personally, they are... sometimes very much so. Doyle's observations, reactions and interpretations within the family unit are priceless. Anyone from a working class background will relate on every level.
Read and be enriched....
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A tale that exhibits the loss of childhood innocence,
By A Customer
After having read Paddy Clarke ha ha ha, all I can say is that I was entirely satisfied. Although reluctant to dive into the novel, I found myself swallowed by the story of Paddy and the hardships of his life. I was required to write an essay on the novel, at which point it hit me: I have no idea how to summarize it. With all the themes evident in Paddy Clarke, it make sfor an enjoyable read, providing you can get past the Irish slang and the style in which the book is written (Doyle wrote it from Paddy's 10-year old perspective). There were many funny moments, as well as sad ones, that make readers own memories come flowing into the story. If you need a good book about goblins, read The Lord of the Rings. But if you're looking for a heart-warming story about as boy in Ireland in 1968, losing his childhood innocence, get Paddy Clarke.... ummm... yeah.
3.0 out of 5 stars Can you remember being ten?!,
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha (Vintage Classics) (Kindle Edition)
I had some problem with the absence of a plot in this book. The issue of Paddy Clarkes parents marriage doesnt really gain focus until well into the book. Up until then its just some days in the life of a 10 year old boy, but, I must say that in itself was funny and interesting at times. I especially liked Paddys thoughts on heaven and religion. He is no angel, which makes him all the more believable as an adventurous, curious and mischevious boy. Definitely will provoke memories of childhood! The more serious parts address domestic violence and alcoholism and these problems emerge as the book goes on.
Perhaps this slow paced revelation of the marriage problems, bit by bit, less subtly as time goes on, is supposed to mirror the actual marriage problems or simply convey the message that you never know what goes on behind closed doors. Either way, worth a read as its not too long a book and it definitely has some parts which will make you laugh and reminisce about childhood.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha - what a book!,
By A Customer
I studied this text for my GCSE Literature exam, and I thoroughly enjoyed it!
It tells the story of a boy growing up in working class Dublin - the boy's family is central to his existence, yet his parents grow increasingly apart, bickering and fighting steadily. His father eventually strikes his mother and leaves soon after. Meanwhile Paddy grows anxious, loses sleep, deliberately toughens himself and loses his friends...
It is remarkable for its authentic "child's eye" view of events. Paddy is extremely observant, has a fantastic vocabulary, and the book is written in a very anecdotal style - all of these things account for a truly exceptional read!
3.0 out of 5 stars Paddy Clarke So So So,
I think the charms of this particular book must have passed me by. This is the first book of his I've read although I never found anything that particularly appealed to me about it, I also never read anything that would deter me from him giving him another shot. It was interesting enough but I have read far better along the same lines.
Most Helpful First | Newest First
Paddy Clarke Ha Ha Ha (Vintage Classics) by Roddy Doyle